The Andy Markwart Horizon Award


 Andy Markwart

The Andy Markwart Horizon Award, presented by the ACN Professional Improvement Foundation (PIF), is an annual award given to an ACN member who embodies the youthful vigor, energy, passion, dedication, and creativity shown by Andy in his volunteer work for ACN for many years. Andy, the editor of The Furrow, died in 2006 from heart problems.

Award Criteria
The Andy Markwart Horizon Award winner must meet the following criteria and provide the following application materials:

  • Open to any ACN member age 35 and younger.
  • References. Two professional references (one from current employer).
  • Essay: 500 words or fewer that describes your interest in receiving the stipend and why you believe you are deserving, your professional goals, etc.
  • Resume

You may nominate an ACN member or apply for yourself. Nominations are not required.

Each year, the award’s winner receives a $2,000 stipend, which can be used to attend the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) annual Congress, the Agricultural Media Summit, or other professional development classes, seminars, or workshops.

Click here to read testimonials from past Andy Markwart Horizon Award Winners. 

Thank You to the 2024 Sponsor

Congratulations to the 2023 Andy Markwart Horizon Winner, Betty Haynes!

Betty HaynesMarkwart

Betty Haynes was born and raised on a corn and soybean farm in central Illinois. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a MA in Communication, she joined the team at the Illinois Beef Association.  In 2022, she became an associate editor with Prairie Farmer. 

“I can say without qualification that Betty is the finest young agricultural journalist I’ve worked with in my 25 years of agricultural journalism. Betty is an eager learner and careful observer who loves agriculture and whose roots run deep in the industry,” said executive editor Holly Spangler.

In her application for the award, Betty wrote: “Just one year ago, I was working as Illinois Beef magazine editor when Holly Spangler encouraged me to become an ACN member, attend Ag Media Summit and submit some of my work in the ACN awards. To my surprise, I was awarded Emerging Photographer of the Year. Soon after, I was hired as Prairie Farmer, associate editor – a position that 5 years ago I could have only dreamt of…Each opportunity has undoubtedly stemmed from ACN involvement. But even more importantly, I’ve become connected with one the most incredible groups of people – all so incredibly talented, supportive of one another, and passionate for ag journalism.  Their enthusiasm has been contagious, and I’ve been eager to get involved.”

Congratulations, Betty!